Keep your child's social skills alive
It’s been nine months of life mostly at home. You’ve spent quality family time with your children and it must have been good to connect. But in case your children haven’t said this enough already, we’ll remind you: they miss their friends.
Don’t take it personally. It has nothing to do with you. But teenagers want to spend time with other teenagers. It’s just the way it is. If you try to recall, you were also like that when you were that age.
The lack of a social life is a problem. Kriti Jalan, a licensed counsellor, told us that meeting friends is a stressbuster for children and when they aren’t able to do that, there is frustration and anger.
Spending time with people your own age teaches you to express yourself, learn to listen to others and cooperate with those different from you. Good social skills such as these are linked to success later in life. There are studies to prove this, but you already know this.
So if your children can’t go out, then what? All is not lost. Here are a few ways to keep your children social during lockdown:
Find out what your kids enjoy doing with their friends. Try and recreate that at home with siblings and grandparents. Be as creative as possible – you can play board games or card games too!
Let your children meet their friends online on Zoom or FaceTime. We know you’re worried about their safety online, but keeping them away from the laptop is not the solution. Moreover, when friends get together, they talk and express themselves and may find interesting ways to cope with the lockdown.
Every once in a while, let your children meet cousins their age or their friends in the building or colony. They can meet outdoors and with all precautions. However choose these people if you are confident of the precautions they are taking.
Children are bound to get sad about not seeing their friends. Help them see the silver lining. Get them to reflect on what they’ve been enjoying about lockdown. Maybe they learnt to play chess or they learnt to cook. Reassure them that this too shall pass.
If you have a pet, get your children to take more responsibility for it. If you can and if you want, adopt a dog (we are warning you that it’s a lot of work). Looking after a pet makes children more empathetic. It makes them more responsible and more thoughtful.
At Openhouse, we realize how important social connection is. The community events we organize are our way of bringing students in different classes and clubs together. We start off every week with a mindfulness session for students. With a games night every Friday and a session that is all about controversies, students get a chance to come together and interact with each other. In our classrooms, we regularly give students group projects. Students get to work with each other while being in different cities.
Together, let’s help children have a social life even in lockdown.